Because my team feels empowered to have an active role in our future, it creates new business opportunities we may not have pursued without team input. These tips were gathered by Jessica Stillman from the book, “Best Practices Are Stupid: 40 Ways to Out-Innovate the Competition,” authored by Stephen Shapiro. I think they make some good points. What do you think?
1. Make sure your challenge does not imply a specific solution. For example, when NASA tasked a crowd with creating a “zero-gravity laundry system,” the wording alone precluded other possible cleaning methods — or even self-cleaning clothes.
2. Make sure your challenge does not imply a specific “solver.” For example, it was assumed that only oil experts could solve a specific problem associated with the cleanup of the Exxon Valdez oil spill. In the end, a chemist who had solved a similar problem found the solution.
3. Make sure your challenge is not overly abstract or fluffy. For example, the United Kingdom wanted to improve its educational system. With a challenge framed this broadly, the type of solutions could be endless, ranging from teachers and their pay, to schools and the curricula.
4. Make sure you are solving the right challenge. A mouthwash manufacturer, after receiving feedback from customers, set off to create an alcohol-free version. This proved costly and less effective. As it turns out, customers weren’t concerned about the alcohol content; they were opposed to the burning sensation. Creating a non-burning, alcohol-containing mouthwash was a lot easier.
I’ve blogged before about working together with my team and I am always open to their input. If you benefitted from this post, you might find this blog, “7 Steps for Women Business Leaders to Create a Stress-Free Workplace,” helpful as well.